Hate Speech

The various laws that refer to “hatred” do not define it. The Supreme Court has explained the meaning of the term in various cases that have come before the Court.

Hatred is predicated on destruction, and hatred against identifiable groups, therefore, thrives on insensitivity, bigotry and destruction of both the target group and of the values of our society. Hatred in this sense is a most extreme emotion that belies reason; an emotion that, if exercised against members of an identifiable group, implies that those individuals are to be despised, scorned, denied respect and made subject to ill-treatment on the basis of group affiliation.

Chief Justice Dickson – R v Keegstra, decided in 1990

In my view, “detestation” and “vilification” aptly describe the harmful effect that the Code seeks to eliminate. Representations that expose a target group to detestation tend to inspire enmity and extreme ill-will against them, which goes beyond mere disdain or dislike. Representations vilifying a person or group will seek to abuse, denigrate or delegitimize them, to render them lawless, dangerous, unworthy or unacceptable in the eyes of the audience. Expression exposing vulnerable groups to detestation and vilification goes far beyond merely discrediting, humiliating or offending the victims

Justice Rothstein – 2013 in relation to Saskatchewan Human Rights Code

For more information on Hate Speech laws in Canada, feel free to read this Wikipedia article.

Developing a hate speech policy has brought up a lot of conflicts with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under Canadian law, you as an individual have the right to freedom of expression. Canada’s freedom of expression is not the same as the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech in the United States. There are, of course, reasonable limitations on what we would call free speech in Canada.

In simplistic terms, your rights end where they begin to infringe on the rights of another. That being said, there are differences between rights and privileges that need to be explained. In Canada, you have the right to freedom of expression, but you do not have the right not to be offended. Being offended is personal and based on how you perceive another person’s speech. Being offended is a privilege. Therefore, a person’s right to freedom of expression will not be subjugated to someone’s privilege of being offended.

We will approach hate speech issues based on our social media and commenting policy. We recognize the nature of hate and that it is extremely subjective. A statement from an individual might not be viewed as hate speech by one person. Still, it could be considered hate speech by another. we also understand that ideological beliefs play a significant role in what is considered hate or hate speech. Please know that you may interact with people who do not necessarily share your particular ideological belief, and just because they say something that you find offensive does not mean it is hate speech. If you feel that there is a potential violation of our social media and commenting policy, please reach out to legal@tldr.press

The Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted the right to freedom of expression to include “the right to say nothing or the right not to say certain things.” amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code would require compelled speech. The amendments added gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act and to the Criminal Code provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide and aggravating factors in sentencing.

Like the arguments surrounding hate and hate speech above, we will apply the same standards of our social media and commenting policy to compelled speech issues. We will not force people to use specific words against their will. If you wish for someone to refer to you in a certain way or use a particular pronoun, be polite and ask them to do so. They can choose to either accept your request or refuse to acknowledge your request. We will not force them to utter words against their will if they so choose.

We acknowledge that there is a difference between somebody refusing to accept another person’s ideological beliefs vs somebody purposefully antagonizing and doing it out of hatred. We realize this might make some people uncomfortable. Still, in a society where not everyone shares the same ideological beliefs, we believe that you have to learn how to balance your beliefs and the beliefs of others fairly.

Before we decide on whether or not there is a potential violation of our social media and commenting policy, we will examine the context around the situation. If you feel there is a possible violation of our social media and commenting policy, please feel free to reach out to legal@tldr.press